Cubs 3, Phillies 0: At Last, A Road Series Win

Mitchell Leff

Our long Cubs road series nightmare is over.

Sunday, the Phillies were celebrating the 50th anniversary of Jim Bunning's perfect game. The perfecto was actually thrown June 21, 1964, but since Sunday was Father's Day, that game was on Father's Day, and the Phillies aren't home June 21, they decided to honor Bunning today.

The Cubs' Travis Wood decided to join in the celebration by doing a passable job of trying to duplicate Bunning's feat. It wasn't a potential perfect game, as he had allowed just two walks through 5⅔ innings. Then Wood gave up a couple of hits, but had his most dominant performance of 2014, eight shutout innings. Anthony Rizzo hit his 14th home run, and all of that helped lead the Cubs to a 3-0 shutout win over the Phillies.

And in so doing, the Cubs won the series from the Phillies, their first such win in their last 16 road series. It's also the first-ever series win for the Cubs in Citizens Bank Park, which opened in 2004. The Cubs are just 13-21 in the Phillies' new park; their last series win in Philadelphia before this one was April 6-8, 2001.

As noted in the game preview, the Cubs had lost 34 of their previous 48 road games since that last series win away from Wrigley Field, September 9-10-11, 2013 over the Reds in Cincinnati. Whether this can be kept up is an open question. The Phillies aren't a good team (although they still have a record one game better than the Cubs) and have a losing record at home, which could account for the Cubs being able to win this series. It won't be as easy in the upcoming series at Miami, where the Marlins, at 22-13 (pending the result of their Sunday game, which is in extra innings at this writing), have one of the best home records in baseball.

Wood was dominant. Even after allowing the two hits, he got himself out of jams and overall, gave up just those hits -- back-to-back singles by Ben Revere and Jimmy Rollins -- and issued three walks, throwing 112 pitches in eight innings.

Personally, I think I would have let Wood at least start the ninth. The Cubs have an off day Thursday, which means everyone gets an extra day of rest next time through the rotation. Wood really needed this game for his own confidence as well as the win for the team; he had been struggling through mid-May and this showed the form that he had a year ago, the form that got him onto the National League All-Star team.

Offensively, Rizzo's home run would have been enough; the Cubs added runs on an RBI single by Starlin Castro (who went 3-for-4) and an RBI double by Nate Schierholtz, who is hitting well enough recently that he might pique someone's trade interest. In the ninth inning, the Cubs faced Phillies rookie fireballer Ken Giles, who fired a couple of pitches at 100 miles per hour. Neil Ramirez couldn't match that, but he retired the Phillies without incident for his third save, a much easier one than he had in Friday night's game.

The Phillies once again wore their 1964 throwback uniforms (with the number font that doesn't quite match the one from 50 years ago), but the Cubs opted not to wear theirs from Friday night. Pity, as I think those are attractive and would love to see the Cubs adopt them as their standard road-gray uniform. Instead, the Cubs wore the blue alts, in which they have a bad record. They had lost seven straight games wearing the blue jerseys before Sunday's win. Updated Cubs records wearing various uniforms:

Home pinstripes: 14-11
Home throwbacks: 1-3 
Road throwbacks: 1-0 
Road grays: 2-4 
Road "CUBS" alt: 2-6 
Blue alt: 6-15
Camo: 2-0

Enjoy the rest of your Father's Day! This was a nicely-played game, outstanding work by a pitcher who really needed it, and a good way to head on to the last leg of this road trip, a three-game set in Miami beginning Monday evening. Jason Hammel will face Tom Koehler.

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